A very special mother’s day

Hmm, mother’s day was around the corner. Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were loaded with messages as emotional as it could get. Every mom is a super mom and very special in every way. This mother’s day was special too.

Our weekend’s include a walk to the close-by super market. Rain in the past weeks have made the plants lush with green. So the walk way trees, shrubs and creepers have grown dense. We stepped out for our regular walk and turned around the pavement. I continued my chatter with marido. After a few steps he pulled my hand to gesture a stop and waved me to look to my right. A few cubs of fox were playing. They look at us as we stare. We watch them for a while and move along thinking how amazingly a mother has chosen to bring her cubs under a dense shelter, probably to save them from rains. Despite their difficulties the cubs went on to play and make their mother happy in their world of joy.

London canals are habitat for many ducks and seagulls. Few months ago we saw a duck safeguarding her eggs on a raft. She battled the cold nights in all her strength and a few weeks later the yellow ducklings hatched out and began quacking for food. The father would dive into the water to fetch food and he’d promptly go back to feed the babies. We were wondering how long would it take for the ducklings to get into water and fetch food for themselves.  It took a few more weeks indeed. Recently we found them swimming in the waters to grab their piece of bread and it’s so amazing to have seen them being nurtured and grow.

Mothers sow their seeds of thoughts in their children and then beautifully encourage their children to discover this world.

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Neeliah Nayaka

For holidays I’d travel to grand-ma’s home and that’d be our summer camp. Half of my summer camp would be in Thirthalli (dad’s native) and the other half in Udupi (mom’s native). The travel from Bangalore to our village ‘Patlamane’ was a tiring one with ten hours travel time. Our journey would start with a red coloured KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Shimoga. In the six hours journey I’d ask mom to buy me groundnuts, biscuits and chocolates. After some munch I’d stretch and sleep on mom and sister. Once we got off at Shimoga, we’d stop by at Thrupthi canteen to eat curd rice, one among the best curd rice I’ve had. The journey isn’t over yet, we still have a long way to cover, not distance wise but time wise. We’d have to take a bus from Shimoga to Thirthalli and then from Thirthalli to Ganapathikatte. Sometimes I’d feel travel sick and a few times that I’ve reached intact, I was supposed to run for 2km and send my cousins to mom and sister to help get our suitcases. There are two ways to reach home, one by the main road and another through our betel-nut farm. I’d take the farm road, because it’s fast and also I was scared of a pond on the main road. I’d run to grand-ma after, who would get up from her bed, smile at me and ask ‘ivaga bandhya’ (did you arrive now?). I’d say yes, then wait by her side and she would slowly pick a plastic cover under her pillow which would have my favourite orange candy. By then mom and sister would arrive and everyone gets into a melodious conversation. I’m lost in the talks and also in time now.

I’d slowly walk towards the entrance to see the vast betel-nut trees. I’d then step towards the cowshed. All the cows are munching their evening grass meal and I walk-in to speak with them. The shiny black cow standing next to the entrance is ‘Saraswathi’. Standing next to her is ‘Lakshmi’ and beside is her calf drinking milk. Lakshmi always delivers a male calf, always. The orange cow at the far corner is ‘Parvathi’. She usually uses her horns to shoo away unknowns. This cowshed has sheltered many cows in the 60 odd years, the names have changed but the stories have remained the same.

I walk near the wooden gate, pedestrians can walk by in the small opening and when a motorcycle or a four wheeler comes, someone has to slide the four wooden bars which are resting on a small pillar, to make way. I see thousands of jamun fruit on the pathway, they all are smashed and have oozed out purple liquid. I see my cousin’s jeep up the road and I run towards it. I see an old man by the jeep. He’s squatting and smoking ‘beedi’ (thin cigarette). He is wearing a shirt which I guess would have been white once, now it’s full of mud. He’s got a striped shorts and has put a towel on his shoulder. He’s got a curly hair and has cracked legs. I go near him and he throws his cigarette away. He smiles and I can see his broken tooth. He asks ‘Puttamma! chennagiddira?’ (little girl, are you doing good?). I smile back and show my broken tooth and tell him that I’m doing good.

Neeliah Nayaka, who is an essential part of my school summer holiday memories. So many jeep journeys with cousins and him, his infectious laughter, walking me up the hill to drop me at cousin’s place, his puppy face when doddamma (dad’s elder brother’s wife) would scold him for drinking and coming home, his silence, his tree climbing techniques and the wild fruits he’d bring me.

Joyful days, Joyful memories and Joyful Neeliah 🙂

Why do I do What I do?

Isn’t the first time I’m asking this question to myself.

I have some strange and some not so strange behaviors. Without a single miss everyday I talk about pets I’ve had. You know, like a pet obsession. They have been my best friends. They’ve petted me equally in our growing together years. Now, I have to talk about my next best friend, book. Books and authors have been my friends, my mentors and also sometimes my opponents. When I’m reading a book I immerse and I absorb the characters like a sponge. I can walk and talk like them until another book and a new set of characters play my psyche. Thankfully I’m not a big fan of sci-fi. Grabbing books have been super easy these days. I’ve turned into a thorough kindle girl, so easy and so handy. The idea of shopping turns me off these days. Also I’ve noticed, I’m very uncomfortable shopping while someone’s with me all along, strangely, I could purchase a wardrobe full in an hour when I’m all by myself. Some husbands would love to have such a wife, while, marido’s different, he wants to walk along the stores with me. Well, you see, unlike attracts. That reminds, I get attracted to problems like a magnet. I hardly can air difficulties or grievances. But, problem solving gives me a thrill and a purpose. These days, I’ve found myself a new hobby. It is to sit by for days watching a tree by my window. It’s coloured its leaves, shed them all, been standing strong in the cold winter, growing back into tiny green edges and now its all of green to sway happily in the wind.

I think.. only think.. I have deep sense for details and I could let go of it all in a click.

We drove by the giant mountains around California. Some were neon white covered with snow and some were standing bare with tinges of green grass and yellow wild flowers. We are so tiny in the vastness of this nature and yet we create so much complications around – politics, industrialisation, relationships, world trades and what not. They remained my vacation thoughts. In the US visit I realised we watch more of Trump bizarre than they do. As my routine commenced I got hooked to the French election story and its result with the victory of the youngest, Macaron. Then I went on an unf$*k your habitat mode and did some dumping and house clean up. It felt like a therapy, except that once a while marido was in a playful mood to create ripples in an otherwise meditative ambience.

I think.. and think.. I have a butterfly mind which wanders in its thoughts and makes me do what I do.

A lot of stories I’ve picked to read have been a re-read of history. Some discussions I have are on how to make the best of everyday. I often take opportunities to make strategies on business for future. Past, present and future take their chances in circles.

I think.. and also think.. adequate curiosity is the essence to add flavours to my life. It’s hard to make sense of it in bits, but I’m beginning to look for my patterns. Questioning with why, how and what are acting as my tools.

Cosmos, a story of space.

Have you ever been a sky observer? Such stellar activities happen high up in the air. I love the black curves of flying birds across a bright sunrise. They have always been behind the mountains of every drawing I made as a child.  A sunrise, flying birds, few mountains, many trees, a blue river and our little home beside. When you just start to think of living a life there, you can see this machine bird in your head. It’s an airplane, that’s made us travel the world with ease and comfort. In 90s when the airplane flew past our neighborhood, we would run out to take a glimpse and wave hands. It gave us thrill and left us amused. I wondered if there would be anyone up there who could see our tiny hands and wave back. I’m standing beside the tower that takes me to 103rd floor to put me in a glass balcony. Skyscrapers begin to look like vertical platform that operates messengers to move back and forth between the earth and sky. I get off and I’m wandering under the dark lost in the jungle of my own thoughts. I look up to see Orion, a constellation that I fell in love with. He hunts my thoughts and lets me explore. I’m swirling around in circles and racing through the sky to space to system to galaxy to web of galaxies and the universe. I have gained enormous energy. Slowly, I’m starting to feel heavy. I’m swallowed by a black hole and from nowhere I start dropping down at light years speed to wake up from a sweaty dream. I’m struggling to breathe my share of oxygen. We know that our atmosphere offering of oxygen has depleted over years. Maybe my DNA will pass on this information to my lineage in their genes. After many thousands or perhaps millions of years a new human is born with some of my gene strands who wouldn’t need oxygen anymore.

Space could be bright or very dark.  Space could make you light or very heavy. Space could be a question or it could give you an answer. It’s a knowledge house and is full of mysteries. It offers us many stories.

Ever want to watch an amazing series that can stimulate questions around life on earth and space mysteries? I recommend Cosmos, A Spacetime Odyssey and need I mention that I’m in love with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Sailing in the sea of my memories

The alarm kept buzzing and it took a few more snoozes before it was fully silenced. Mornings are a challenge themselves, while, winter mornings challenge you with a dark dare. I always thought birds recognized sunrise to wake up and that ain’t true, they shout at three in the middle of my sleep. I dragged myself to the kitchen to prepare my honey lime warm water and saw a pound of bread resting in a corner. I sail back in the sea of my memories.

My mother is busy working her way in the kitchen. She has draped a blue and red printed saree and sporting a maroon bindi on her forehead. She is making filter coffee for everyone in the house. She pours the decoction and adds the creamy milk to make it a glossy brown liquid that kick starts the day for most adults. I couldn’t see the coffee bubbling on the burner, I stood straight and barely reached the kitchen counter. I walk into the hallway and see my father in his white vest and dhothi, leaning in the sofa and reading every bit of news from the Kannada newspaper ‘prajavani’ delivered by a local boy in his cycle. I go to sit next to dad and continue to play with my semi-naked barbie doll. My sister is wearing her favorite light blue frock with white flower prints. She’s lying on the floor and scribbling words on a book with her new crayons. The black cat walks past us to enter our kitchen and continues to meow. She’s stayed outdoors all night wanting to hunt down rats of our neighborhood, but, she looks disappointed with her efforts. I leave the doll on the sofa and run behind her to the kitchen. As I try to hold her, she slips away to circle around my mother. She wants her dose of morning milk. The cat closes her eyes and licks all the droplets of milk from her bowl. I sit beside to pat her while she scratches her neck and continues to lick herself up. My mother asks me to keep a distance from the cat, she scares me that its hair would go to my tummy and result in a stomach ache. I give a deaf ear to her talk and continue to play with my black panther. She hands over a glass of milk and asks me to drink it quick. I’ve been waiting for this moment since morning and I ask her to give me slices of bread to eat along. She declines my request and says I’d be fussy and wouldn’t have my breakfast if I eat the bread now. My lips drop down and I make a crying face. She doesn’t budge and I begin to cry frantically which includes a choke that stops my inhalation. Now the cry has transformed into a shrill. Everyone in the house run to the kitchen and begin to worry. They put the bread on my palm and calm me down. I start to breathe, slow down my sob and focus on the piece of bread. My joy slowly returns and I feel accomplished. I’d won my game of bread. My sibling peeps behind my dad to watch this intense scene and probably wonders how her sister is born with a taste for bread. Maybe, only to realize that decades after this very sister moves into a country of bread and makes it her home, as if it were destined.

I can feel the happiness now and I break into a smile, while marido walks in and gives me a cheery good morning hug. I’m wearing a black shirt and a pink shorts. My hair’s all messy. Well I too begin to make some filter coffee.

and bread… I’ve saved them to eat along 🙂    

100 years – the first five

Ever since I’ve started reading George Mahood’s ‘Everyday is a holiday’, I get crazy ideas. What’s my latest? Well, I began a small research project to find about events that occurred every year on the 30th of July since 1916. Why 30th of July you may ask, hmm.., it marks the day I was born. Ahan, I thought it would be cool to know what happened on this particular date every year since 1916, giving it a frame of hundred years. All excited. 

I got super thrilled about the discoveries I’m going to make and the stories I’d encounter. ‘Why wait?’, I said to myself and began to chase. I was sure the early years were going to be filled with war stories, considering the first and second world war

Let’s begin with the story of Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United states by the French. It represents ‘Libertas’, Roman goddess who bears a torch and a tablet evoking the law. The statue remains an icon of freedom. She stood at the New York welcoming all since 1886. She witnessed the war and sustained minor damages too. On the 30th of July, 1916, the Black Tom explosion at Jersey, an act of sabotage by German agents to destroy American made dynamites and explosives that were to be supplied to US allies (Britain and France) for their war efforts, caused minor damage to the torch bearing right arm of Statue of Liberty. The narrow ascent to the torch has remained closed for public ever since. It wasn’t my intention to begin this project with a sad note. Nope, not at all. However, we are talking news from war times, hardly any good tunes there.

Have you heard of Zaleszczycki and Sniatyn? I did not have the slightest clue until some google search that I did now. Supposedly 30th of July 1917 is marked as the fall of Zaleszczycki and Sniatyn, they were retaken by Austrian Third Army. Zaleszczycki (in Polish) is a small city on the Dniester river in western Ukraine (between 1918 and 1939 it was part of Poland). Sniatyn is a city in western Ukraine too along the Prut river. Nearly all of Sniatyn’s Jewish population was murdered during holocaust. Two years ago I’d visited Berlin’s war museums. I found such heart wrenching stories all along. It can only remind us that there are two sides to the war and both are dark, sucking them all like a black hole.

Joyce Kilmer was a journalist, poet, literary critic and an editor at New York Times. On 30th of July 1918, he died. Here’s his poem ‘Trees’, that made him famous.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


– Joyce Kilmer, 1913

I love the summer and nest of robins there.

Here’s also a note from Hell’s observer on the 30th of July, 1918 – between the rains and guns

hells-observer_1918

Sigmund Widmer, a Swiss historian was born on 30th of July 1919. I had to make this entry at-least to satisfy the historian devil who’s entered my body recently. I think by now you’ve also figured that I’m a traveler. Let’s talk about Chicago. It’s a wonderful place, isn’t it? I like the lake, popcorn, silver bean and the glass balcony view. Once, I had a chance to visit a friend’s aunt who lives in a skyline apartment beside the harbor. The view was as beautiful as the lady of the house. At eighty plus she was bubbling with an energy of eighteen, she’ll remain ever inspiring. Chicago is also known for riots. Race riots : Chicago in red summer of 1919 was between 27th July and 3rd August. It’s considered to be the worst race riot in the history of Illinois. A century further, we still are battling the right to equality, be it gender or race or any other societal barriers, at various corners of this world

Marie Tharp, born on 30th of July 1920, is the woman who discovered the backbone of earth. Marie Tharp´s cartographic accomplishments were exceptional because she overcame educational and employment barriers that limited opportunities for women of her generation. Without doubts she prepared the field for other researchers. In 2009, Ocean in Google Earth included the Marie Tharp Historical Map layer, to allow people to view Tharp’s map using the Google Earth interface.The Marie Tharp Fellowship is a competitive academic visiting fellowship awarded to women to work with researchers at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Marie’s life and work gives me pride as a woman.

Wow, that’s a whole lot. Almost everything I’ve put in there is my new learning, but, the themes have always remained in my writing – war, travel, equal rights, poems.  Have any anecdote to share?

Says, ‘back to your roots’

When you are an amateur blogger and someone likes your post, you go onto their blog, read their life and stories. They’d suddenly become friends in your head, you know what I mean. Unbolt – Tetania and Tony, their poems and extracts felt as if we were having a cup of coffee and discussion at our living room. With the blog and bloggers, there are so many of them I want to call out and tell, how much I nod while reading their posts, how much their life seems so similar to mine or how much our world differs but I understand ‘that feeling’ of theirs. As we grow and move world aparts from friends we grew up with, it’s a bit of challenge, but, it does progress with our stories and experiences. Eventually in the journey, we make new friends, some old ones fall out, some turn thick & thin and some wear out as acquaintances. Friendship is a weird wiring. I’ve felt a constant support, I have been told ‘oh, you’ve changed a lot’, I’ve travelled the unknowns with them, I’ve heard appreciations, I’m countered with tantrums. Well, with me around, maybe they go through this cycle too. Lol.     

One big remark against me has been, ‘oh, moving around the world has made you forget your roots’. If you’ve been a globetrotter too, have you heard that? That’s a hard one to digest. Isn’t it? As I remember this, another post has caught my attention – ‘Back to your roots – blogging about genealogy and family history’. Genealogists around the world are meeting for a conference at Salt Lake City, Utah, this week. So I took some inspiration and tried making my family tree with the root starting from my great great grandparents – my father’s side. From my mother’s side I’ve still got to make progress for generations up my grandparents.

genealogy_blog

Photo: My lineage (only with paternal links)

I know that my patriarchal lineage starts with ‘Vishwamitra’, it’s a methodology in Hindu brahmin community to track down one’s root with a ‘gothra’ system. The hindu ‘gothra’ system denotes the lineage. Being a feminist, I could argue it’s unfair that lineage is carried only by the sons, while the daughter would have to change hers (to her husband’s gothra) after marriage. However, to think of it in chromosomes and genetics way, Y chromosome is always preserved with a male lineage. While woman have X chromosomes each coming from mother and a father. So Y is where we can point clearly, as it’s carried from father to son for many generations. It means the gothra system was basically designed to track down the root Y chromosome of a person easily.

The gothra system sounds like an amazing technique considering that it comes from an age that dates to thousands of years backwards from when we, the modern age human, have begun the exploration of genetics and DNA. However there are far too many things I do not know yet and its very interesting to research them, well, back in my roots. 

Just yesterday, I was telling marido that I want to do a historian project. I think, I’ve made a start.